Chris T. Pernell
Doctor and Clergywoman

Chris T. Pernell

Chris T. Pernell is a doctor and an ordained clergywoman in New Jersey. Two of her recent projects include a prison-based wellness program and a faith-based childhood obesity initiative.

The push for American Exceptionalism

"[T]he ideals of human rights and rule by the people require not suspicion of government but use of it...confident that human ingenuity [can] devise mechanisms that... at once protect liberty, allow effective government, and rest on the consent of the people." Quoted from Ralph Ketcham, a noted historian and political scientist speaking on behalf of the Federalists who defended the Constitution, I am reminded of its relevance in today's health-care reform debate.

It speaks to American Exceptionalism-- the belief in American uniqueness, shaped by a singular history, and cultivated by sacred convictions that rest in individual rights, freedom, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It applauds our ability to form a veritable democracy capable of energetic government -- not arbitrary, excessive or dangerous to its citizenry.

If we are an exceptional nation, and I believe we are, then we must admit that we have an exceptional problem. Our health-care system is at once unparalleled in excellence and plagued by troublesome ironies. It is a disservice to all Americans and the iconic American brand if we fail to forge a solution or at least make considerable progress in that direction, similar to the spirit that enacted Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We need meaningful, transparent health reforms, which place us on the path to a unique American hybrid of private and publicly provided health benefits.

Sadly, the push to optimize our current health system is proving tortuous. With each arduous tick of the game clock, another permutation is churned out but falls short of the coveted 60 votes. And just recently, late-breaking maneuvers to include a Medicare buy-in appear to have been scrapped. Indeed this move would have satiated much of the appetite for a public insurance program but without the new bureaucracy. It remains unclear, however, whether new enrollees would have been entitled to the same Medicare benefits as current beneficiaries and if this would have complicated solvency issues.

Suffice to say, the art of compromise is rife with concessions, but the challenge is striking the right balance for the greatest good--that is what government was intended to do.

By Chris T. Pernell  |  December 16, 2009; 2:44 AM ET  | Category:  Medicare Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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